College Football playoff Expansion

The College Football Playoff expansion: Money & transparency

A college football season filled with more questions than answers. A selection committee that makes decisions with less transparency than the Free Masons. A coast-to-coast chant to make like the Louisiana Purchase and double the size of the playoffs.

This four-year-old child has been immature in the sense that it has replaced some of the problems from the BCS computer system, but we cannot complain with the football that has been played over the past four seasons. The argument of the BCS system being better than the College Football Playoff is null and void. Especially, when the two teams who would have been selected in the old BCS system (No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Oklahoma) lost in their first-round contests for the 2017 College Football Playoff.

In the old system, Alabama would have been hung out to dry instead of looking to crown themselves champions for the fifth time in the past nine years. Furthermore, Georgia’s fans would have been stuck with only watching the Atlanta Falcons try to avenge their Super Bowl loss.

The main argument stems from the ever-changing guidelines that constitute admittance to the four-team playoff bracket. The committee sits high atop their ivory tower looking as 130 teams battle week in and week out determining who is the best in all of the land. This committee consists of 13 members, three of which had to recuse themselves from final votes due to conflicts of interest. These conflicts of interest range from Frank Beamer’s son being the special teams coach for the Georgia Bulldogs to the Clemson and Ohio State athletic directors being on the committee itself.

In the past, the notion of winning a Power Five conference championship was the golden ticket to get the inside track to the playoff bracket. The Big 12 typically found themselves with the most difficult path in, but this year, we were faced with an even more difficult decision with the  Big 12 championship being installed for the 2017 season. Before this year, the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC had uncontested seats at the table because of the leverage they had over the Big 12 and its regular season champion. Even though we saw Oklahoma get in two years ago, they had the most difficult path out of the five major conferences.

This addition of a Big 12 champion muddied the waters for two conferences this season. With Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia winning their conference championships in dominating fashion, there was no question as to who the top three teams would be.

However, issues arose at the No. 4 spot unlike any of the problems seen in the previous three seasons. We had a conference champion with two terrible losses in the Ohio State Buckeyes and a Nick Saban led Crimson Tide with one loss and an eye test that wasn’t 20/20.

At the end of the day, and to the dismay of Buckeye Nation, Alabama’s loss to Auburn reflected better than a championship in a conference of teams who beat each other up all year. As we saw in their game against Clemson, it seems to be that Alabama was the correct choice.

Now fast forward to 10 seconds after Alabama was named No. 4 and we see the Ohio State fans looking to burn the 13-person committee at the stake. The entire city of Columbus began to cry out for an eight-team playoff, an argument started prior the commencement of the College Football Playoff in 2013.

After a UCF win in the Peach Bowl over the Auburn Tigers, this pulse for an eight-team playoff reached both ends of I-75. UCF will be pushing a few extra chips to the middle of the table with the “National Championship” banner they will be raising in Spectrum Stadium.

College Football Playoff expansion

Photo by ALYSSA POINTER

The initial goal for the College Football Playoff was to put fate into the hands of the players, coaches and schools rather than in an algorithm. The College Football Playoff, for the most part, has relinquished some of the authority from the college football powers that be, but it has not been perfect.

An expansion of four teams will negate some of the issues that are seen in the covert decisions made with the four-team blue print now, but we still have the potential of the trials and tribulations surrounding the No. 4 spot translating to the No. 8 spot. Even with an eight-team playoff this year, the UCF Knights would have been on the outside looking in as the playoff committee listed them at No. 12 in the final poll.

Ohio State has been batted around like a tennis ball between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for each year of the College Football Playoff. Ohio State has been the perfect example of the lack of guidelines the playoff committee has with the pushing of each poll, and these guidelines have changed with each season.

Each season is unique, and no cookie cutter set of regulations will satisfy the problems we have had throughout the first four years of the playoffs. We are looking for transparency and consistency, and the narrative as to how the committee reached their four-team bracket has changed year in and year out.

Last year, Ohio State was not a conference champion, but they made it to the No. 3 seed over a two-loss, conference champion Penn State. This year, Alabama gained the No. 4 spot over Ohio State, who won their conference championship. Alabama was left out of the SEC championship after their loss to Auburn.

Alabama’s Nick Saban said that you should win your conference championship to be eligible for the College Football Playoff last year, and he had to put on a different hat as he campaigned for the Crimson Tide to be admitted over the Big Ten champions. If anything, the committee has been consistent in their search for the four best teams, but their basis for choosing the four best teams needs to be translated to fans.

Logistically, it would be very difficult for an eight-team expansion to occur. Exhibit A for almost every lawn chair Stan with an expansion plan is the idea of reducing the regular season to 11 games, so teams wouldn’t have to add another game to physically demanding schedule. Why play the Little Sisters of the Poor or Orphan Annie and the Misfits? Without the big dogs playing these teams, we will see better football, and no one wants to see Alabama beat up on Buddy the Baker’s Cupcakes, and we don’t want teams to risk injury against a school who would need more than divine intervention to beat them. These arguments hold water and represent legitimate gripes, but trimming the fat won’t make this playoff conundrum fit into a glass slipper.

College Football Playoff Expansion

Photo from SI.com

On the surface, this is the simple way of solving the main gripe fans have with the College Football Playoff. We get better football, and teams don’t have to risk injury and waste their time.

However, the regular season has too many hands dipping into the honey jar. Businesses, restaurants, fans and schools have too much invested into the college football regular season for it to shrink to anything less than 12 games. Each home game attributes to millions of dollars accrued in each school’s local economy during college football weekends. The local community loses profits in contingency with schools losing profit margins. This isn’t just a deterrent for the top tier teams, but it has consequences for the small programs, which round out the rest of the NCAA.

An eight-team playoff will result in monetary benefits for the eight teams making the playoffs, but the other 122 teams lose either a potential home game or a huge pay day from one of the larger teams. In the 2017 season, there were 26 games which had payouts of $1 million dollars or more just to show up and play. Over $150 million in guaranteed payouts circulated throughout college football this season. These payouts include big-time neutral site matchups, but the majority are accumulated in big schools paying smaller programs to play at their stadium. It’s the reason we see the games such as Kent State vs. Clemson or Appalachian State vs. Georgia.

The “show up” payouts allow for small programs to build facilities and stadium additions that allow smaller schools to remain competitive in a college football landscape that is top heavy. Many of these smaller programs depend on this money to stay afloat, and it also serves to finance other sports within a school. The largest payout for just showing up this season was the $1.65 million sent to Arkansas State for playing at Nebraska. There are other intangible benefits to getting the snot kicked out of you for these teams, but nothing speaks louder than money.

The path to an eight-team playoff won’t travel the way of a shortened regular season because people won’t lean where there ain’t green. The goal of the committee is to “increase revenue for all conferences and independent institutions,” but the expansion to eight teams will cause another hitch in the College Football Playoff that we live and die with each week.

We need to see transparency in the playoff committee if we want to see any productive changes in the near future. Eight-teams seems like a great idea until the economic logistics strike a nerve with each school in Division I football. Shortening the season will not benefit anyone, and the four-team, full regular season format we have now is the best we have.

Keeping the 12 game regular season and expanding to an eight-team playoff is a can of worms dealing with player safety that will be opened one day. But for now, transparency between schools, fans and the committee is the answer to the debacle we’ve seen in the four-team playoff.

 

Featured image from SI.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

College Football Playoff Bracketology 12/3/17

The season is over and all that is left is for the committee selecting the teams for the College Football Playoff (CFP). Here is how the committee should rank the teams in their final rankings of the season:

In the playoff:

1. Clemson Tigers (13-0)

The Tigers won the ACC yet again. This time they beat Miami to secure the ACC crown. They were ranked first last week by the committee and that shouldn’t change in the final rankings.

Clemson has a great resume and beat nine teams who are playing in bowls this winter. The loss to Syracuse happened when Kelly Bryant wasn’t healthy and didn’t play the full game. If the Tigers aren’t ranked first by the committee it would be a surprise.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

Oklahoma locked up a spot in the CFP with their 41-17 win over TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Winning would’ve been enough, but they really put their stamp on this game and proved to the committee that they belong in the CFP.

The Sooners have the one blemish on their record that came at the hands of Iowa State. Their resume is great outside the loss. They beat Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU twice. With the second best strength of record at the completion of their game, Oklahoma doesn’t have much to worry about.

Can the Sooners’ defense step up in the College Football Playoff?

3. Georgia Bulldogs (12-1)

Georgia avenged their only loss of the season with a big win in the SEC Championship over Auburn. This was a play-in game for the CFP, so Georgia is in.

The Bulldogs tested themselves with a game at Notre Dame and passed the test. Adding that game to their wins over Mississipi State and Auburn, along with the fact that they are the SEC Champions, puts them in the CFP.

Georgia finally has the chance to play for a national title, but what can they do now that they have the chance?

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

College Football Playoff Bracketology

J.T. Barrett (Photo by espn.com)

Ohio State was able to hold on in the Big Ten Championship and beat Wisconsin 27-21. The Buckeyes will now be hoping their resume looks better to the committee than Alabama’s does.

The Buckeyes have a lot of solid wins, which puts them in the conversation to be in the CFP. They beat Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Three of these teams will be in or around the top 15 in the CFP committee’s final rankings. Alabama will have one team beat near the top 15, being LSU. I’ll take Ohio State beating three top 15 teams over, Albama’s possible one.

A Big Ten Championship is nice, but the Buckeyes feel they deserve to make the CFP.

First four out:

5. Auburn Tigers (10-3)

The Tigers lost in the SEC Championship Game. They would have been in had they won, but since they didn’t they will have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Auburn lost three games, all coming to good teams, but was the only team to beat Alabama. They also beat Mississippi State and Auburn in their first meeting. At the end of the day, Auburn was in the position they wanted to be in at the end of the season, but failed to execute.

6. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

College football playoff bracketology

Nick Saban (Photo by usatoday.com)

Alabama was the only team with realistic CFP chances that was idle this weekend. The Crimson Tide will be hoping that their metrics and resume can get them into the playoff.

The strength of record was sixth in the country heading into the weekend, but likely will drop when all the metrics are updated. They beat LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State for solid wins, but other than that their resume isn’t great. They failed to beat an elite team all season (unless LSU is considered elite) and are paying for it now.

Had Florida State been as good as expected the resume might have had the necessary boost to get Alabama in the CFP.

7. Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)

Wisconsin lost in the Big Ten Championship and lost their chance to play in the CFP. It was a well fought game, but they ultimately fell short.

The Badgers didn’t play a great schedule, which meant they had no room for error this year. Wins over Northwestern and Michigan are nice, but won’t get anyone in the playoff without a conference championship.

It isn’t what Wisconsin fans wanted, but the team will still get to play in a big time bowl game.

8. USC Trojans (11-2)

USC won the Pac-12 Championship over Stanford in a 31-28 win. It’s a too little too late for the Trojans, but they have secured a second straight New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans beat Stanford twice and Arizona for their best wins of the season. Their losses to Washington State and Notre Dame aren’t bad, but they haven’t beaten enough good teams to warrant a higher ranking than this.

Next four out:

9. Miami Hurricanes (10-2)

Miami got off to a slow start against Clemson and were never able to recover in the ACC Championship Game. They had a great season, but came up just short of the CFP. A New Year’s Six Bowl game is not a bad result for Mark Richt in his second season.

The Hurricanes successfully beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, but were unable to accrue any other great victories. The loss at Pittsburgh, who didn’t qualify for a bowl game, really hurt Miami’s chances. If they were undefeated heading into the ACC Championship Game, they may have been able to afford a loss.

Mark Richt has started to bring the “U” back, but they haven’t gotten all the way back.

10. UCF Golden Knights (12-0)

UCF completed the undefeated record heading into the bowl games. They beat Memphis in a double overtime thriller 62-55 to win the AAC Championship.

It’s a shame that UCF, isn’t getting more recognition for the CFP, but they did lock up a chance to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Their two wins over Memphis are great and they also beat a Power 5 conference team in Maryland. If their game against Georgia Tech wasn’t cancelled due to a hurricane, they would’ve gotten much more love from the committee.

Scott Frost is reportedly out, so how will UCF respond in their big bowl game?

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

Penn State did not play this weekend, but drop in the rankings as a result of other teams winning conference championships.

The Nittany Lions only have two solid wins, one over Michigan and one coming at the expense of Northwestern. They lost in both games in which they had a chance to really impress the committee. Had they beaten Ohio State and/or Michigan State, they would rightfully be in the CFP talk. They’ll have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl.

Might we see another Penn State vs. USC matchup?

12. Washington Huskies (10-2)

Like Penn State, the Huskies didn’t play anyone this week. They benefit from teams losing in conference championship games though.

The Huskies couldn’t put it all together this season against good competition. Their best wins were over Fresno State and Washington State, but had a horrid schedule outside of those games.

Washington will also have to settle for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/19/17

This week of the season was not very eventful with a bunch of cupcakes on the schedule. The bad games this week will prep college football fans for a great rivalry week that has a lot of good matchups. Here are how the teams rank before the big weekend:

Playoff teams

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0)

College football bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama won big over Mercer (FCS) this weekend. It was an easy game, in which Alabama even held out some of their players as a precaution. Hopefully they are at their best for rivalry week.

The wins over LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are solid, but Alabama lacks a big win. Still though, with the undefeated record, the Crimson Tide will stay in the top spot in the rankings.

Rivalry week is here and Alabama has a chance for a great win over Auburn.

This week: at 6 Auburn Tigers

2. Clemson Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers didn’t have a problem with The Citadel (FCS). Clemson rolled 61-3. They look primed for big things in the next few weeks.

Clemson has some of the most impressive wins in college football, especially their win over Auburn. Their victories over Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State also add to their good resume and help them stay in the second spot.

They will have a small test against South Carolina on rivalry week.

This week: at South Carolina Gamecocks

3. Miami Hurricanes (10-0)

Miami is one of the few teams that played a decent team this week. Although they trailed Virginia for much of the game, they scored 30 unanswered points to run away with the game. They played like they did before the last two weeks, which is up and down with the level of their competition, for most of the time against Virginia.

The Hurricanes have jumped up to this spot in the rankings and will stay here because of their performances in recent weeks. Wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame aren’t quite as impressive as the wins Clemson has overall. They should still feel confident though, as they will get to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

Unfortunately Miami doesn’t play one of its biggest rivals this week, but they should be able to get the win to stay undefeated.

This week: at Pittsburgh Panthers

4. Oklahoma Sooners (10-1)

Oklahoma had a conference game this week, but it was still an easy game, as they played Kansas. While there was a lot of extra-curricular activity, the important thing is that Oklahoma won 41-3.

With good wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State and TCU, Oklahoma is in a good position. They are already in the Big 12 Championship Game and if they win out, they will be in the CFP.

The Sooners will get a tough game this week, albeit not against a rival.

This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

First four out

5. Wisconsin Badgers (11-0)

The committee decided to put the Badgers at number five last week, so they will likely be ranked at five again. This week Wisconsin got a win over a decent Michigan team. Michigan has a good defense, but really shouldn’t have been ranked in the top 25.

Beating Michigan still gives Wisconsin another solid win, but it won’t be enough to get into the top four, yet. The wins over Iowa and Northwestern are nice, but if Wisconsin wants to make the CFP, they will need to beat a really good team.

The Badgers’ rival is Minnesota, so they will likely go into the Big Ten Championship undefeated.

This week: at Minnesota Golden Gophers

6. Auburn Tigers (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Kerryon Johnson (Photo by al.com)

Auburn started slow against UL Monroe, but picked it up and ended up winning 42-14. This sets up another great Iron Bowl that will have CFP implications.

The Tigers have big wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Their losses to LSU and Clemson aren’t that bad either. If Auburn wins out, they will be a CFP team.

If the Tigers can win this week, they will be rewarded with a chance to play Georgia again in the SEC Championship.

This week: vs. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Georgia Bulldogs (10-1)

The Bulldogs bounced back from their loss to Auburn very well by beating Kentucky 42-13. Kentucky is a solid win for Georgia, but ultimately the important thing is that they won, as they still control their own destiny.

Georgia’s wins over Notre Dame and Mississippi State are both good. The loss to Auburn is something they will want to avenge if possible. If they win their rivalry game and the SEC Championship Game, they are in the CFP.

Can Georgia shut down Georgia Tech’s triple option this week?

This week: at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-2)

Notre Dame won a tough game over Navy this week to stay in the top ten. While it was one of the tougher games that a top ten team faced, the Fighting Irish should’ve played better.

Wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State have kept Notre Dame this high in the rankings. It will be hard for the Fighting Irish to make the CFP, but not totally impossible.

Bryce Love and Stanford are on the schedule for the last week of the season, so Notre Dame better be ready for a physical game.

This week: at 22 Stanford Cardinal

Next four out

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2)

College football playoff bracketology

Urban Meyer (Photo by newsok.com)

It has been an up and down season for Ohio State, but this week they destroyed Illinois. With the win they kept their small CFP hopes alive.

The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan State and Penn State for some really good wins. The two losses are holding them back. If they can win out, which includes a victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State will be very close to the cutting line, one way or another.

The big game is this weekend for Ohio State. Throw records aside for how big of a rivalry game this is. Ohio State hasn’t struggled with Michigan much in the 21st century, but anything can happen.

This week: at 24 Michigan Wolverines

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2)

Penn State beat Nebraska pretty easily this weekend. The Nittany Lions are pretty much out of the CFP picture, but getting another ten win season is nice.

James Franklin has to hope for absolute disaster and chaos to happen to make the CFP. It would take some upsets in the final week of the regular season and some during conference championship week to make it even slightly possible. All Penn State can do is win this week and then wait and see where the chips fall.

Ten wins should be the expectation when they take on Maryland this weekend.

This week: at Maryland Terrapins

11. USC Trojans (10-2)

The Trojans finished off their regular season with a win over rival UCLA. They get a nice week off to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC probably has a better chance of making the CFP than some teams ahead of them (Notre Dame, Penn State). It all depends on how they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game and if the teams above them hold to form. They are rooting for Washington State to win the Apple Cup, so they can play them in the Pac-12 Championship for another solid win.

A week off before a conference championship is unique, but can USC make the most of it and win the Pac-12?

This week: Bye

12. TCU Horned Frogs (9-2)

TCU was able to beat Texas Tech pretty easily, despite not having quarterback Kenny Hill. If they can beat Baylor in the final week, they will get a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs need some help to make it into the CFP. Beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game would be a nice start, but it will not be enough on its own. It will likely take: USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, Ohio State winning the Big 10 and much more to go their way.

They should be focusing on what they can control and winning the Big 12 would be a great feat for TCU.

This week: vs. Baylor Bears

 

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College Football Playoff bracketology 11/5/17

There were plenty of ranked matchups this weekend, which means that these rankings are changing yet again. The College Football Playoff committee will rank the teams on Tuesday once again and this is how they should rank the teams. (All rankings in the “this week” section are based on AP Poll ranking)

Playoff teams:

1. Georgia Bulldogs (9-0)

The Bulldogs remained undefeated by beating South Carolina 24-10. It may not be the biggest scoring margin of all time, but Georgia controlled the game and had a good game on both offense and defense. Jake Fromm is remaining efficient, while the many talented running backs help move the chains. The defense is dominant.

With the committee ranking Notre Dame at number three last week, they obviously value Georgia’s win over them pretty highly. Mississippi State is also moving up the rankings and Georgia blew them out. The rest of the wins have been pretty mundane, but those two wins help carry the resume.

Georgia still has a few tests left this season and are not a guarantee to win out, although they are playing like the best team in the country.

This week: at 10 Auburn Tigers

 

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)

College football playoff bracketology

Jalen Hurts (Photo by gridironnow.com)

Alabama also had a win that wasn’t by the biggest margin, but was controlled by them the whole time. They beat LSU 24-10 in a very tough, physical game. The Crimson Tide remains undefeated and a lock of a top two team when the committee comes out with their rankings.

After Florida State’s fall this season, this is Alabama’s best win of the season. Their wins over Colorado State and Texas A&M are their next most impressive. Alabama has looked like a great football team and blows out inferior competition, making them deserving of the number two spot.

Their are still a few games that will be difficult for the Crimson Tide that need to be won in order to get to the SEC Championship Game.

This week: at 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1)

The Fighting Irish battled injury, but were able to hold off Wake Forest 48-37. Wake Forest is likely going to a bowl game, so the committee will value the win a little bit. This was one of the easiest games that Notre Dame has in the back of their schedule and they were able to get the win.

Notre Dame still has only one loss to Georgia by one point, but they also have some impressive wins. Their win over Michigan State looks better after they upset Penn State this week. They also have wins over top 25 teams in North Carolina State and USC. There is no doubt that Notre Dame is one of the top four teams on Tuesday again.

More toughness remains in the Notre Dame schedule as they have another big matchup this week.

This week: at 7 Miami Hurricanes

4. Clemson Tigers (8-1)

Clemson was able to hold off a late come back by N.C. State to win 38-31. The Tigers racked up another win over a top 25 team, which should help them hold their spot in the CFP rankings for the week. Their defense needs to be addressed, as they allowed the most points all season to the Wolfpack.

Their win over Auburn is looking better as the weeks go on, while their wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech look worse. Clemson gets the nod in the rankings over Oklahoma for beating a lot of quality teams rather than just a few big wins. Every team on their schedule, besides Kent State, has a chance to become bowl eligible. At this point in the season that is an accomplishment.

The Tigers’ schedule eases up down the stretch, so they may lose ground to other teams who play in more marquee games.

This week: vs. Florida State Seminoles

First four out:

5. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)

Oklahoma has the best pair of road wins in the country after they won in Stillwater on Saturday. In a high scoring affair, the Sooners were able to shut Mason Rudolph down on the last drive to secure the victory, 62-52. Their playoff chances look really good if they can win out.

The Sooners now have big road wins against Oklahoma State and Ohio State. On top of those they have solid wins over Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas. Their loss had looked better, but Iowa State just lost to West Virginia. Don’t be surprised if Oklahoma jumps into the top four this week, but their two marquee wins now have two losses and are leaving people questioning how good of teams they are.

If the Sooners win again this week they will be in the top four for sure in the next edition of the rankings.

This week: vs. 8 TCU Horned Frogs

6. Miami Hurricanes (8-0)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Malik Rosier (Photo by twitter.com)

Sound the alarm and cue up the smoke, because Miami is back. The Hurricanes got a big win at home over Virginia Tech 28-10. This drastically helped out a lackluster case to the committee despite Miami being undefeated.

This win is the best on the season for the Hurricanes and with a few more wins, can help propel Miami into the CFP. They also have wins over Toledo, a very solid MAC team that has just one loss, and a .500 Georgia Tech team. They haven’t lost, so if they win out they are in, but a lot more football is left to be played.

Miami has one more tough test in the regular season that needs to be passed this weekend. After that, it’s all about avoiding upset bids.

This week: vs. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

7. TCU Horned Frogs (8-1)

TCU got a win over a Texas team that always seems to fall just short of big upsets. Their defense stepped up again, only allowing seven points. The balance of good offense and defense is what makes this team so good.

Their win in Stillwater over Oklahoma State looks less monumental now that the Cowboys have also lost at home to the Sooners. The Horned Frogs also have solid wins against West Virginia and Kansas State to help their case. The loss to Iowa State likely won’t hold the Horned Frogs back too much going forward if they take care of business.

For a chance to really bolster their resume and keep their hopes for the CFP more real, TCU has to win this weekend against a very tough Oklahoma team.

This week: at 5 Oklahoma Sooners

8. Wisconisn Badgers (9-0)

Wisconsin looks good, but that’s about all you can say about them. They beat a sub-par Indiana team that is likely going to miss a bowl game, 45-17. The Badgers are tough and physical, but have yet to be tested by a challenging team.

The problem for their case to be in the CFP is that their biggest wins on the year are over Northwestern and Florida Atlantic. Their win over Northwestern is looking better now that the Wildcats are on a four game winning streak. In order to climb up the rankings, other teams need to lose and the Badgers have to beat a good football team.

The Badgers may get their stiffest test of the season when Iowa comes to town, as the Hawkeyes are brimming with confidence after blowing out Ohio State.

This week: vs. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Next four out:

9. Washington Huskies (8-1)

College Football Playoff bracketology

Myles Gaskin (Photo seattletimes.com)

The Huskies are slowly making their way back up in these rankings by continuing to win, even if it isn’t against the greatest competition. This week they beat an Oregon team that is trying to fight it’s way to bowl eligibility. To be fair, Washington did blow them out 38-3.

Washington played an awful non-conference schedule and is now paying for it. They beat a 6-3 Fresno State team, who is better than expected, for their only decent non-conference win. In conference they are beating .500 teams or below. They need some help to move up higher in these rankings.

Fortunately, Washington gets a chance to play a few games that should help their case in the last three weeks of the season.

This week: at Stanford Cardinal

10. Auburn Tigers (7-2)

Auburn is an intriguing two loss team that can inflict the most chaos over the last three weeks of the regular season that college football has ever seen. This week though, they defeated Texas A&M, who is a solid team even if the rumors continue to swirl around Kevin Sumlin.

The Tigers have two road losses, one to Clemson and one to LSU. Neither of those is a terrible loss. To go with their decent win over the Aggies, Auburn also has beaten Mississippi State, who is also moving up the CFP rankings. Auburn will get a chance to improve their ranking by playing the top two teams in the country over the last three weeks.

The schedule is tough for Auburn, but if people want the most chaos, Auburn is the team to root for.

This week: vs. 1 Georgia Bulldogs

11. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2)

Ohio State ran into a buzz saw in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes looked like they were going to get a sizeable win, but then kept their foot on the pedal to blow out the Buckeyes. The loss knocks Ohio State down quite a bit in the rankings, but they are lucky in that a lot ranked teams lost this week.

The Buckeyes have now lost to both Iowa and Oklahoma and don’t have many great wins on the season. They do have a win over Penn State, which isn’t as good after the Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State. Ohio State is likely eliminated from the CFP and needs some serious disarray to even come close to the top four.

The next few weeks features some opportunities for some good wins for the Buckeyes if they can get back on track.

This week: vs. 13 Michigan State Spartans

12. USC Trojans (8-2)

USC has made their way back into the rankings this week after defeating Arizona 49-35. Arizona was a newly ranked team that hadn’t lost with new quarterback Khalil Tate under center. The Trojans are in a position much like last season and might be in store for a New Year’s Six bowl.

The Trojans have wins over Arizona and Stanford now, but both teams are fringe top 25 teams. Their losses, to Notre Dame and Washington State, are both to good teams, but it is always hard to make a case to the committee with two losses. USC is another team that is hoping that absolute chaos happens to help them move up in the rankings.

With their win over Arizona, USC likely now will clinch the Pac-12 South. They won’t have any more opportunities until the Pac-12 Championship Game to make a statement, so they will be scoreboard watching a lot the last few weeks of the season.

This week: at Colorado Buffaloes

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